March 31, 2019: Lucas Bjerregaard showed nerves of steel to beat his childhood hero Tiger Woods in an enthralling quarter-final and reach the last four of the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play at Austin Country Club, where Francesco Molinari also progressed after another day of domination for the Italian.
The Dane was fearless under the most intense of pressure as he faced his very first experience playing alongside the 14-time Major Champion in front of sell-out crowds in Texas, having overcome his fellow Scandinavian Henrik Stenson in the Round of 16 earlier in the day.
It was a rip-roaring afternoon encounter, as Bjerregaard showed no signs of being overawed by the occasion, opening with a birdie to go 1up. Woods picked up three successive birdies to take a 2up lead by the fifth hole, but the 27 year old pulled it back to all square by the tenth hole.
A double-bogey at the 11th set him back again but the real turning point came at the par five 16th, where Bjerregaard drained a monster eagle putt to level the match going down the par three 17th. He stood firm again to hole a tricky putt and match Woods’ tap-in birdie before the game went down the final hole.
After the American found the bunker with his second, Bjerregaard gave himself an 18-footer to win. Although he missed, it was game-set-match when Woods’ six-foot par putt slipped by. Bjerregaard will face Matt Kuchar in the semi-final after he dispatched of Sergio Garcia in the quarter-final.
Molinari, meanwhile, continued his remarkable week by beating Kevin Na 6&5, meaning all but one of his victories this week finished before the 16th hole and he has not yet played the 18th this week. The reigning Race to Dubai Champion, who had beaten Paul Casey 5&4 in the Round of 16, will face last year’s runner-up Kevin Kisner – who took out Louis Oosthuizen in the quarter-finals – in the final four.